Sunday, January 31, 2010

43 Woo Mon Chew Road, Singapore.

9 days more to go. This is a very special photograph to me. The house in the background is my old house which we lived in for 20 years from 1995 to 2005. The new owner decided to take down the house to build their dream home. From time to time since I moved out, I would go make a detour to drive past this house to just have a good stare at it. I felt as though I had left a big part of me there and forgot to pack it. One day, I did my detour and realised that they had started to demolish the house. I stopped my car, sat there for quite a while in shock, watching them slowly take down part by part of the house. The light fixtures still hanging in their respective rooms, I could see the staircase that I used to run up and down, The living room which I would watch countless hours of telly in, my heart sank. Where did all the glass panes which we had spent hours cleaning, the doors that we would slam in anger, the balcony that hung over the our front patio, where did all that go? Part of me wanted to stop them, the other part of me had already resigned to fate. Then I decided to get down and take photos of what was left, and this is the one that I took with my car in the foreground.

After this had happened, I would still occasionally drive past just to see what had been done. The mango trees had disappeared one by one, the lawn we used to play on was gone and in its place was dirt and machinery. In a year's time, a new house had replaced my old house. Something I could not relate to or make myself to like. I had even broken into the place before a gate was put up (just before it was done), from the inside, I was lost. I stood where my room would have been, stared out of the window, I recognised the view but not the room. It was strange and foreign.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

260 Little Collins St, Melbourne.

Now that I'm counting down 10 days to the next decade of my life, I thought I'd put up a photo that would remind me of the years that have passed. Today's is the apartment block that I lived in when I was living in Melbourne. It's right smack in the city, has a strong art deco design. I do suspect that the original building was only 4 storeys tall and it was extended upwards later to it's present 9 storeys. The apartments in the original building featured much higher ceilings and some units had bay windows. The apartments in the extended floors, had lower ceilings, but still had big windows. Those which were on the 5th floor, had also little balconies which they could stand out on and take in views.

My old unit was on the 4th floor. It had very high ceiling, big beautiful windows that light would stream in from, lovely wood flooring, ceramic hobs and a nice bathroom with a tub. I loved it! I could live in it for a long time to come and moving out of it was so sad, especially when I was moving out of the city into a boyfriend's place which was smaller, warmer and in a bad neighbourhood (lots of druggies).

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Absinthe Salon.

I remember a road trip that I took with a couple of uni-mates and their other halves a few years back. My then fiance and I were going back to Melbourne for our annual ski/snowboard trip. We decided to plan a road trip to Port Fairy with our uni-mates and stay by the river for a little fishing and bumming for a few days. At the airport, we decided to buy a bottle of vodka and we hankered over what else to buy till we spotted absinthe. I thought it was a good idea to bring along a bottle of the green fairy. I must declare that the boys are terribly good drinkers on most accounts. They polished the bottle of vodka with ease even pairing it with nachos and fruit gum snakes. They were still terribly sober after that one bottle of Absolut. Then came the bottle of absinthe. They made it only halfway through the bottle and were in a bad state. We are talking about 5 boys (and 4 girls, forget about the girls, we drank little. More beer and wine) who were in a terrible state. They hated absinthe, were vomiting in the front lawn, walking out in the wee hours of the night to our private jetty while puking. Another one just broke up with his girlfriend of many years, was talking trash and crying. I've never seen the boys so trashed. The girls were just high and laughing at the state of the boys. All these bring back fantastic memories of a carefree life.

Absinthe has been controlled and hard to acquire for the longest time. Recently, it has been made popular again. In Sydney, an Absinthe Salon has opened in Surrey Hills to promote the forgotten culture of drinking absinthe, traditionally. By the way, the water fountains, perforated spoons and vintage looking glasses are also for sale online through their website. This could be fun for a drinking party, lots of novelty and sure to have your friends talk about it for weeks to come.

Harrod's Ruby Slippers.

Click your heels thrice and say," There's no place like home." Who can forget the ruby slippers in "The Wizard of Oz"? It's been 70 years since Dorothy went down the yellow brick road in search of the Wizard of Oz. Harrods, has decided to produce a limited edition of the ruby slippers to celebrate just that. Ten percent of the proceeds from each pair go to the Great Ormond Street Hospital to aid their quest of raising GBP300,000.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Magna Design.

I love the Magna Design kitchen appliances. Their gas hobs are so clean in aesthetic and according to many, great to use as well. They are quicker to heat up than a ceramic hob. As it uses a gas, it is more energy efficient. Selected Magna hobs have even a high powered wok burner. Their line of ovens and cooker hoods are also beautiful. Clean and sleek. The one below is flushed into the ceiling making it look really neat.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Mulberries on a Concrete Pavement.

There's something so fascinating about this photo of a concrete splattered with mulberries. The beauty of the mulberry is that the tree is not outstanding in terms of looks, it's exceptionally shady and has these little berries that are hidden near its leaves. The flavour of these fruits range from the delicate (white mulberries) to rich and unique (dark purple). The sad thing about these fruits is that they will not ripen further after being picked, when ripe, they are soft, juicy, don't travel well and bruise easily. The best ways to enjoy them are to actually own a tree, or know someone that does and pick them straight off the tree, savour them neat or in a jam, with simple vanilla ice-cream or custard.

So why is this post about mulberries on a concrete pavement? We always forget the small things in life which are special. We take for granted the things we see everyday. Sometimes forgetting its touch, smell, the lovely shape and colour. Mulberries are common in temperate countries sometimes on the side of a street. It's purple dye splattered on the concrete floor is commonly seen, its fruit lying there waiting its impending doom seems just too sad. That's how sometimes I see relationships. When things were new, free and every experience fresh, you realise how unique someone is and over time, we forget what makes that person special. Our senses become dull to that person.

He/She becomes another mulberry on a concrete ground. Recognised, yet indistinct. Unique and forgotten. Wasting our time towards an end that we are uncertain of; when, how, why. Together with our compatriots, we weave a tapestry of a life forgotten, could have been beautiful, delicate, fragile and sweet with no one to savour. A potential wasted.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Caravan Style.

Caravan Style is a store in London that sells an eclectic mix of old, new and old made new items. Unfortunately, they do not sell their full range online. I love the bug side plates by Lou Rata, the Jielde lamps and Deborah Bowness Wallpapers.

Friday, January 22, 2010

BMW 335 Coupe with M Sports.

As much as I am enamoured of the the M3 coupe in Jerez Black, the price is the only set back. I cannot fault the drive of the car at all. However for a little more than half of it's price, there's this baby, the 335 Coupe with M Sports. It's such a beauty (although it lacks the hump in the front that makes the M3 sexy), it drives and handles fantastically, giving enough pleasure to the most fanatic driver.

Read Jeremy Clarkson's review of its handling and performance below and join me in my little fantasy of owning one of these.

In a word, superb. The BMW 3 Series is renowned for its handling capabilities, and the Coupe does not disappoint.

The steering feels satisfyingly heavy, and chatters away through its thick rim constantly, thanks to its mechanical rather than electric assistance. The chassis offers up monumental grip, and when you want to play, the DSC and DTC traction control systems allow a good degree of oversteer before reigning in the balance and restoring traction.

Turn them off and the 335i is magnificent fun on track. A heavy right foot will break traction easily but it never feels out of control, and a quick steering correction will see you powersliding like a pro.

And it’s just as happy snaking through town over dodgy surfaces as it is sweeping through fast B roads thanks to its near perfect 50:50 weight distribution.

The M Sport suspension does a fantastic job of keeping the rear wheels firmly planted and the front wheels wonderfully fluid. And you won't even realise you're on BMW's infamous ride-hardening run-flat tyres...

As much pulling power as the V8-powered M3 and acceleration figures to give owners of E46 BMW M3s something to chew on make this 335i an astonishingly rapid motor.

Two small turbochargers strapped to the straight-six engine provide 295lb/ft of pulling power and a whopping 306bhp, available from as little as 2,000rpm, which means you can venture into licence losing territory before the engine has even woken up.

But – hold the revs over 4,500rpm and the 3-litre engine responds with a classic BMW metallic bark and violent acceleration.

Any gear and any revs – just floor the happy pedal and the 335i shoots off with neck-snapping force.

The 0-62mph dash is dispatched in just 5.4 seconds and the 335i will comfortably hit its 155mph top speed without breaking a sweat.

And don't forget, this engine won the International Engine of the Year Award.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Joyce Cabinet By Pinch Design.

It's not often that I come across a piece of furniture that I would really want to own. Sure there are a lot of pieces that I think are drop dead gorgeous or nice to own. However, this piece from Pinch Design is absolutely me. I love how simple it looks, painted wood frame with sliding glass doors, inside shelves and drawers in cherry wood. It reminds me of an updated vintage cabinet that I would find in my grandpa's place.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Demise of a Living Wall.

The living wall at Islington is now dead. It used to be the pride of the town and it came at a cost of GBP100,000. A few years back, it was also an award winning feature. What caused the demise? A faulty watering system. They are now looking for a way of restoring the living wall. What a pity. Take a look at how lush it used to be.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Cat Burglar Barbie By Christian Louboutin.

Barbie is a fashion icon, and with her dressed as a cat burglar in Christian Louboutin shoes re-affirms her status. The limited edition Barbie comes with 4 different pairs of red-soled (but of course) Christian Louboutin shoes. There are only 7,700 available worldwide. So for those who grew up with their Barbie dolls as their best friends, and love their Louboutins, you can't miss out on this. I hear that they are selling fast.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Slow Food International.

Globalisation, Industrialisation, are they dirty words? They represent the ease of technology, the "help" we get, but at what price? Skilled workers everyday are replaced by machines, garden vegetables on our plates replaced by those store bought ones, is this the life our forefathers envisioned? We think that our palates are more refined over the years by how easy it is to taste the cuisine from somewhere else in the world through store bought frozen food, bottled sauces and canned condiments.

Let me clear your head. We have slowly let our cultures slip; the once broad line between one culture and another slowly thinned, blurred out. Do we even know which dishes belong to our heritage? Do we understand what type of pork we are buying in the supermarket? How many different kinds have you tasted? Heard of heritage fruits and vegetables?

Slow Food International was set up in Italy in 1986 to counter fast food and fast life, the dwindling interest in the food we eat, where they come from, how it tastes and how our food choices affect the rest of the world. They aim to preserve cultural cuisine and the associated food plants and seeds, domestic animals and farming within an ecoregion. The movement has spread across the world with 100,000 members in 132 countries. They have organised many food fairs, and meetings among the food communities. They have also a University of Gastronomic Science at Pollenzo which aims to promote good food and nutrition.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Tonight I Can Write...

Tonight I can write the saddest lines.

Write, for example,'The night is shattered
and the blue stars shiver in the distance.'

The night wind revolves in the sky and sings.

Tonight I can write the saddest lines.
I loved her, and sometimes she loved me too.

Through nights like this one I held her in my arms
I kissed her again and again under the endless sky.

She loved me sometimes, and I loved her too.
How could one not have loved her great still eyes.

Tonight I can write the saddest lines.
To think that I do not have her. To feel that I have lost her.

To hear the immense night, still more immense without her.
And the verse falls to the soul like dew to the pasture.

What does it matter that my love could not keep her.
The night is shattered and she is not with me.

This is all. In the distance someone is singing. In the distance.
My soul is not satisfied that it has lost her.

My sight searches for her as though to go to her.
My heart looks for her, and she is not with me.

The same night whitening the same trees.
We, of that time, are no longer the same.

I no longer love her, that's certain, but how I loved her.
My voice tried to find the wind to touch her hearing.

Another's. She will be another's. Like my kisses before.
Her voice. Her bright body. Her inifinite eyes.

I no longer love her, that's certain, but maybe I love her.
Love is so short, forgetting is so long.

Because through nights like this one I held her in my arms
my soul is not satisfied that it has lost her.

Though this be the last pain that she makes me suffer
and these the last verses that I write for her.

By Pablo Neruda.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

You're Getting to be a Habit With Me.


Every kiss, every hug
Seems to act just like a drug
You're getting to be a habit with me
Let me stay in your arms
I'm addicted to your charms
You're getting to be a habit with me

I used to think your love was something that
I could take or leave alone
But now I couldn't do without my supply
I need you for my own

Oh, I can't break away
I must have you every day
As regularly as coffee or tea
You've got me in your clutches
And I can't get free
You're getting to be a habit with me
Can't break it
You're getting to be a habit with me

You've got me in your clutches
And I can't get free
Like getting shut-eye,
You are what I need
Eternally, ohhh! my
You're getting to be a habit with me

Cascade Apple Isle.

This is my absolute all time favourite drink. It used to be the first thing I drank in the morning to perk me up. It is made from clear pressed Tasmanian apple juice and is carbonated. After returning from Melbourne, I have never drank anything quite like it. It has such a unique flavour.

Since we are on the topic of Cascade Brewery (the oldest brewery in Australia), I thought I'd feature their special ale, the Cascade First Harvest. It is brewed with fresh hop flowers from that current season of hop harvest. It is brewed in small batches, making it very limited. The current year's release is expected in April/May.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Re-Found Objects.

I think that Re-Found Objects has a collection of great little objects inspired by the past. If you love vintage jelly moulds, french stripe material, pressed glass, etc, this might be one of the most interesting online shops you might come across.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

A Month till 30.

I am trained as an Engineer, and I suppose we thrive on solutions (after all we are the problem solvers). Think of this as a problem.

If time is just an artificial structure like a state line or a country line; a means to quantify the length of our existence, or the passing of day. Age would be just a number on a ruler. Why does the number matter so much to us?

I'm turning 30 in a month's time. I have heard my share of nightmarish stories concerning the next decade of life. I've read this crazy article of why women depreciate so much after they've passed the 30 mark. Apparently, if you are alone (single/divorced/widowed), when you have come pass that mark, suddenly the men who you would usually date (say slightly older than you or the same age), would rather date anyone who is in their 20s rather than you. In short, our market shrinks and for men, it just keeps increasing. Unfair you might say, but to most, it is true.

I, on the other hand, think of turning 30 as a new volume in life. Whether you might be single, newly married, a new mum or re-singled, there is so much to look forward to. I have always seen myself in my 30s as a strong, self-confident and independent individual. Now that I am about to be 30, am I there yet? Maybe, maybe not.

There is just so much to learn about yourself, to further develop your career or to challenge yourself. This decade, I intend to read more economic articles (hated them for the longest time), set myself free from the life that I knew, allow people to know me (apparently, I have been terribly ambiguous to everyone) and live a lot more. Refocus my energies on things that I've always wanted to do. I think many of you will agree with me that in your 20s, you've probably spent quite some bit of it on relationships, relationships that may not have winded up anywhere. Maybe it's time to review them or yourself. Relationships are not everything. Yes, we all have the inert want to love and be loved by someone in particular. I've learned that we have needs that might be fulfilled by people or you want fulfilled by a certain someone, but the minute we need the person, we are in trouble. We must recognise our needs, not the need of a certain person. One more important thing to think about, it is unfair to expect so much from one person.

Having said all that, do I look forward to my 30s? Yes I do. I think the perfect way to celebrate it would be with a bottle of Bollinger Grand Annee, one or two Cohiba Siglo 2 in the company of close friends.

Meanwhile, I intend to breathe in everything that is left of me being 29, until I cross that invisible "state" line.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Paris, Je Taime - Bastille.

My favourite line from this short film must be "By acting like a man in love, he became a man in love again." Does anyone really understand love and its peculiarities? No one can be sure about the mechanics, the idiosyncrasies, the rationality that comes with being in love. Like so many a times I have mentioned to countless friends, there is a different between loving someone and being in love with someone. Right now do I know which I like better? I wished I did know.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

The Boundary, London.

This is my perfect hotel, perfect in every way. For starters, it has only 17 rooms; 12 guest rooms and 5 suites (inspired by some of the most iconic designers). Then there's the fact that it has a rooftop bar, a lovely casual cafe + food store and also a more formal restaurant. Couple all these with the green technology that has been used to insulate it, and the collection of art that has been installed in the building. If, The Boundary is really a dream, Sir Terence Conran and his wife, Vicki must be the dream weavers. I can't wait to see the next project that they work on.

Sir Terence Conran Suite.

Eileen Gray Suite.

The Charles and Ray Eames Room.

The Bathroom of the Charles and Ray Eames Room.

Bathroom inspired by Shaker.